Sunday, August 25, 2013

Molten Tofu: Another Vancouver Next Time

There were so many things we wanted to do in Vancouver and unfortunately, time was limited. We had so many adventures but there are so many more left .. like hiking through Indian Arm Provincial Park, visiting Vancouver island, camping .. and sampling food and drink from places we just couldn't squeeze into our adventure-packed days: drinks at Alibi Room (too big a line-up from when tried), coffee from  Elysian (we always had our mugs full of Matchstick brew when we biked past this place), vegan goodies from Edible Flours, (closed for a vacation when we got there) and a chilled-out dinner at The Foundation.

I really have no excuse for not eating at The Foundation since it was on our way home. But despite my perusing the menu a couple nights while we were there, it just never happened. At one point, I even picked out what I was going to order. Hands down, I had to have the molten tofu, described as "brown and spicy brokly and tofu served on rice." The picture of it, also looked delicious -- comforting and filling. So when we got back to Toronto, and I needed a bit of tofu love to soak up all that excess coffee, I thought I'd make my own version of molten tofu.

It was quite a task at first, seeing as it's kind of hard to re-create something you've never tasted, but a little googling led be to Johnny Hetherington's website (lead vocals in the Canadian band Art of Dying) where he describes making his version of molten tofu -- veggies, fried tofu and a rich, spicy peanut sauce. Awesome!

I'm not too big a fan of hot sauces like tobasco or sriracha, so I don't keep any in the house. Instead, I heated my peanut sauce with lots of fresh ginger and pinch of hot smoked paprika. Other usual suspects go into the mix -- dark soy, light soy, a touch of toasted sesame oil and a big squirt of lime juice. After that, it was just a question of mixing the sauce with the veggies and tofu and eating it up over rice.

This version of molten tofu satisfied me, but I'm still putting The Foundation on my list for our next visit to Vancouver.

Molten Tofu Rice Bowl
inspired by The Foundation, with help from Johnny Hetherington 

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
juice of a lime
2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger
pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each of dark soy and light soy
1/4 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil

1. To make the sauce, simply whisk all the ingredients together. Taste, and add more lime juice or seasonings as needed. Add in a squirt of hot sauce if that's your thing.

For the Bowl
1/2 cup of brown rice
1 cup of water or stock
1/2 small head of broccoli, chopped into florets
6 oz of tofu, cut into cubes
a big handful of baby spinach leaves
a few good grinds of black pepper
splash of water
2-3 basil leaves, chopped (I used beautiful purple basil)

1. In a small pot, add the rice and water or stock. Bring it up to a boil, stir gently, then turn down the heat and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.

2. Add the broccoli to steam with the rice. Replace the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes. The brocoli and rice should be tender and the water should all be absorbed. Separate the broccoli from the rice and set aside.

3. In a pan, heat a bit of olive oil, then fry the tofu for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until they get nice and brown. Add the pepper and the peanut sauce and stir well.

4. Add in the broccoli and spinach leaves. Stir gently until the spinach wilts. You may need to add a splash of water to help it along.

5. Divide your rice among two bowls and top of the molten tofu mixture. Enjoy!

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